Thursday, May 29, 2008

spindianexpress

It is rather unfortunate that a popular blog criticizing media bias has been shutdown through unfair mechanisms. There have been a few blogs which took on the large media establishments before but, in my opinion, none brought attention to the serious issue of intellectual prostitution in such an entertaining way. While WheelerDealer might have stretched it a bit too far with his below-the-belt take on Shekhar Gupta, it must also be remembered that Shekhar Gupta himself is culpable of more serious crimes like sedition. Media in India is one of the most powerful institutions with little responsibility. As power without responsibility would do, it has corrupted the media beyond reproach. SpindianExpress has shown the way for fellow concerned citizens on catalogue-ing the media corruption. Unfortunately, its popularity turned out to be its death knell. I am inclined to believe that Shekhar Gupta has used his political influence to force Google do evil. Google has shown its willingness in the past to remain in business by appeasing governments .

In an asymmetric power equation, this action of censorship raises serious questions firstly about freedom of speech in India and secondly about what options we bloggers have. It reminds me of the IIPM case against bloggers. Indian democracy has shown autocratic tendencies in the past. But the Left liberals have been conspicuous by their absence. No rallying cries about freedom of speech.On its part, the Congress carefully cultivates sycophancy, trampling upon individual freedom. Apart from the dubious distinction of Emergency, Congress tried to wreck havoc on established media outlets like Indian Express in the 80s for not toeing the party line. More recently, it was up with arms against the Eenadu group. Where does it leave the minions, us bloggers? As Rajeev Srinivasan says, if you criticize the dynasty, be prepared that you will have someone knocking on your door past midnight. Not to forgot that there is no anonymity on the internet.

A few words about WheelerDealer before I end this post. I appreciate your courage and determination in taking on the established media outlet and exposing the shenanigans. You have been one of the inspirations behind this blog. You initiated a movement, and as with any movement, it does not end with censorship. As we continue our efforts to increase awareness and fight for media accountability in our own small way, our thoughts are with you.

3 comments:

Shankar said...

One day or the other, the Google episode should be brought to light.

Dirt Digger said...

HF,
Google has a motto which is Do good or something like that. It was a great spin to counter microsoft which was the 'evil empire'. The wheels have turned now that Google is bigger than microsoft and it has grown to pander to tin-pot countries and their governments just to get the ad revenenues, principles be damned.
I've read the posts of WheelerDealer, and its sad that spindianexpress had to be shutdown.
There are lessons to be learnt.

Anonymous said...

Google did it again recently. It betrayed the idendity (IP address) of a blogger who wrote some comments on mataji Sonia in a blog/social network site. Follwing the complaint of a Congress wallah to the Maharashtra police this poor fellow was traced to somewhere in Haryana, was promptly arrested and jailed in Maharashtra.